Thursday, November 29, 2007

From Rock God To Planetary Protector!

SYDNEY, Australia - Peter Garrett - the towering, baldheaded former singer of the disbanded Australian rock group Midnight Oil - continued his long, strange tour from pop star to politician Thursday when he was named Australia's environment minister.

Actually, it looks like Peter gets about half the ministry, as his duties re climate change policy will be shared with senator Peny Wong. This might have something to do with a couple of gaffes Peter made during the campaign, notably raising

...the prospect that Labor would not keep its promises in a "jocular" conversation with a radio presenter.

A long, strange trip indeed for Mr. Garrett. Let me end with a particularly apropos Chinese proverb: Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald.


Anonymous said...

And so the downward spiral of Australia accelerates . . .

Ti-Guy said...

Oh, stop crying. Isn't the official CON position that Kevin Rudd isn't any different from Harpy? You better check with the CPC's Talking Point Central, Despondency Alleviation Division, anony.

Anonymous said...

Protector of logging interests, the ANZUS alliance, and the War of Terror in Afghanistan.

Welcome to Kevin Rudd's New Labour. So liberal that Jack Layton thinks that he can run as a centrist compared to the loony alliance of Lizzie May and Dion.

Anonymous said...

Officially yes, the same position as Harper !!

Opposition leader Kevin Rudd is campaigning in north Queensland and he's speaking with our chief political correspondent Chris Uhlmann.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Kevin Rudd, good morning.

KEVIN RUDD: Good morning, Chris, thanks for the program.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Would it be a deal breaker if developing countries refuse to immediately sign up to a post-2012 deal on climate change that required them to cut their greenhouse gases?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, we'd be required then is for us to go back to the negotiating table because we believe that what developing countries need for that second commitment period are their own commitments.

As Mr Howard himself said yesterday, those commitments would probably be of a differentiated nature from developed countries. In fact, Mr Howard, for the first time conceded that it would be two tracks to this, one for the developed and one for developing countries.

But if we got to a stage where commitments were refused by the developing world or developing countries, significant major emitters, we'd have to go back to the negotiating table, that's they key thing.

CHRIS UHLMANN: So you would not sign a deal that did not include those commitments?

KEVIN RUDD: We believe it's absolutely fundamental that such commitments are contained and that, for us, is a pre-condition.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Why didn't your Environment Minister say that yesterday?

KEVIN RUDD: I understand in his interview with you, Chris, that the entire discussion was about what happens with, first of all, commitments in the first commitment period between '08 and '12, where Peter was quite rightly pointing out the fact that in that period it's for developed countries alone.

CHRIS UHLMANN: No, Kevin Rudd, in fact he was talking about the Bali conference and the Bali conference is about a road map for the future. I think the context was clear.

KEVIN RUDD: No, I was just about to go onto that. Well, in fact having just been handed his transcript, the question I think you put to him was: "Would a Labor government be prepared to sign up to a deal on climate change even if that deal does require developing countries to reduce emissions," and then he says that the developing countries have to be part of the process, would have negotiation at Bali and subsequent meetings would be a pathway for both developed and developing countries to begin to reduce their emissions.

CHRIS UHLMANN: So we were talking about a post-2012 agreement, and if that's not enough, then in the Australian Financial Review he was talking about the fact that it would not be a deal breaker if there was not such an agreement. So why has your policy changed?

KEVIN RUDD: What I was saying is that Peter's comments, and in fact our general debate in recent times has been about the first commitment period, 2008, 2012, and the second commitment period, which you were rightly pointing to.

In the first commitment period our position is clear-cut. That is, developed countries have responsibilities and developing countries need to then be encouraged to come to the table.

For the second commitment period, and that's what's up for negotiation through the Bali process, as you rightly point out, out position is clear-cut, developing countries need to adopt commitments themselves. That is absolutely fundamental and those commitments would need to have an impact, not just on the major emitters, but also have an effect on their own greenhouse gas emissions.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Well with respect, Kevin Rudd, your position is clear today. It wasn't yesterday.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, I believe that it was absolutely clear-cut and Peter Garrett has been consistent about this. That is, that the overall problem that we've got with Australia's refusal to ratify Kyoto for this first commitment period, is that it's been leveraged by the Chinese and by others in order to get themselves out of commitments coming up to this second commitment period post-2012. That's what all this is about. And that is quite clear-cut.

Again, I think you asked Peter yesterday, someone told me this, about whether in fact developing countries need to be onboard, and I think Peter's response to that was: "well there's no question about that." And so, I think when it all boils down, we're talking about the absolute necessity of developing countries accepting commitments for that second period and Mr Howard interestingly changed his position yesterday because prior to then, Mr Howard had not made clear at all out of his own mouth that the Government would be prepared to accept two tracks (inaudible). One for developed and one for developing…

CHRIS UHLMANN: Kevin Rudd, you criticised the Prime Minister for not showing leadership on the Kyoto Protocol, for not signing up to an agreement which doesn't require developing countries to have cuts and you're now saying that you won't sign an agreement in future that doesn't do precisely the same thing. So surely, your position is very compromised on this. Where's your leadership?

KEVIN RUDD: Absolutely not, Chris, because what you're fundamentally getting wrong is this. Mr Howard has constantly argued that the reason for them not ratifying Kyoto and not accepting their commitments under the first commitment period, 2008, 2012, is because developing countries were not onboard. He described that as an unequal arrangement. That's what the debate has been about until now.

What we have said is that Australia's failure to ratify Kyoto has given major emitters like China an opportunity to equivocate about their future commitments under what is called the second commitment period post-2012 and that's to be negotiated at Bali. That's what…

CHRIS UHLMANN: And you just told us this morning that you won't sign an agreement that doesn't do precisely what the Prime Minister wants. So you won't be showing leadership on it, either.

KEVIN RUDD: What Mr Howard has failed in terms of leadership to date, is very clear-cut, and that is by refusing to ratify Kyoto in recent years, despite the fact he originally signed it, what Mr Howard then did was to provide major countries, like China, an opportunity to being to equivocate about whether they had responsibilities for the second commitment period.

The entire Kyoto architecture envisaged in the first commitment period, developed countries taking on targets for reduction and developing countries to use what's called a clean-develop mechanism to in order to bring down their emissions for the…

CHRIS UHLMANN: Understood, Kevin Rudd, but let's return to the beginning, will you sign a post-2012 agreement that doesn't have as an essential prerequisite developing countries cutting their greenhouse gas emissions? Would you sign that kind of agreement?

KEVIN RUDD: I've always indicated that when it comes to the future, we have to get developing countries onboard and for the second commitment period, and why we are determined to be at Bali in full capacity if we win this election, is to ensure that developing countries also accept commitments. That's what we believe is necessary because we need to have both the major emitters from the developed world onboard, as well as the developing countries as well.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And if they don't sign it, will you sign it?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, we're not talking at this stage about what commitments they've embarked upon because the negotiations haven't commenced but I can say…

CHRIS UHLMANN: But you must have a clear idea of what you would do as a position. Would you sign an agreement that didn't include cuts from them, if they said no, next time around?

KEVIN RUDD: Well what I said at the very beginning of this interview, a prerequisite or a pre-condition for us supporting the commitments regime under the second commitment period under Kyoto, we would need to have the developing countries accept commitments at that period. I said that's a precondition.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Okay, so in four years' time you'll find yourself in the same position that you say the Prime Minister is in now if developing countries say no.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, it depends entirely on how the negotiations unfold. Our position is that we need to bring the developing countries onboard. You ask what the difference is between us and the Government on this. One, not just the refusal to ratify Kyoto in the beginning, but two, a refusal to accept binding commitments for Australia for this period, and three, an absenting yourself from global leadership in order to induce the likes of China and others into taking a responsible position on commitments post-2012.

That's what all this is about and Mr Howard seeks simply to, seeks simply to confuse the matter, when yesterday we had his Deputy Prime Minister out in the public debate still questioning the science as to whether climate change is real or not and what needs to be done about it.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Kevin Rudd, thank you.

KEVIN RUDD: Thanks very much.

TONY EASTLEY: And the Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, speaking there with our chief political correspondent Chris Uhlmann.

Anonymous said...

This is Rudd's environmental agenda with regards to greenhouse gases

How is this different from Harpy then?